Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The greatest gift!

Yesterday I feel like I was given the greatest gift of all ... the gift of more time with my sweet girl Ahnung. For the past week I have struggled with uncertainty and the unknown ... not knowing how much time I had left with Ahnung, how aggressive the cancer was, and if the oncologist was going to tell me that I didn't have much time left with my girl. It's hard when fear consumes you and old memories and hurts resurface .... painful memories of losing my dog Shen in September 2006 to spleen cancer where she died one day after her diagnosis, and then in July, 2007 losing my other dog Shadow to an aggressive intestinal cancer. When I heard the words aggressive in conjunction with breast cancer I immediately went to that dark place in my memory bank ... and then came denial and tears .... and throughout this week I watched my girl Ahnung living in the moment. How I wish I could be more like my dogs in how they approach life and living. I found strength and hope again as I leaned on a community for support and prayers, and I spent time with Ahnung and also Missy and Mister.

Ahnung on her way to
see the oncologist
Yesterday I took Ahnung to meet with a vet oncologist. What an incredibly kind, knowledgeable and compassionate doctor. He reviewed the x-rays and the pathology report and he checked Ahnung out. He provided words of comfort as he said there were a lot of positive things in her favor: a) the mass was discovered very early and was immediately removed ... the pathologist feels like the excision was complete; b) there are no visible signs of any cancer in her lungs from the x-rays taken; c) the cancer has not spread to the vascular system; d) her lymph nodes feel good. He has requested for additional analysis to be done by the pathologist as he wants to know what the margins are and also the grade of the cancer. If the margins are greater than 5 mm (ideally he would like it to be at least 7 or 8 mm) and the grade is low then he says we don't need to do anything. He would want us to see a vet every 3 months for the next year to get her checked so that the vet can closely monitor to see if she is developing any new tumors in any of her other mammary glands. If the margins are < 5 mm or the cancer grade is moderate or high he recommends surgery to remove more of the tissue and to actually go into the muscle. Depending on the results he may also recommend radiation. He seemed optimistic, however, that there is a good chance that the cancer was removed with the lumpectomy. She is of course at high risk of developing another tumor and I would need to watch her closely. Acting quickly is critical. I'm so grateful that I was able to notice the tumor and that my friend Vicki was able to see her the very next day (Friday) and get her in for surgery on Monday. As quickly as the mass was growing waiting a week could've made a huge difference on the outcome and the prognosis.

Yesterday I feel like I was given the most incredible gift .... it reminds me of the photo I took in my front yard in the dead of winter (the photo at the top).... there is life, there is hope ... even in the dead of winter. I also believe in the power of prayer. I am blessed to have so many friends ... and Ahnung is blessed to have so many friends and fans. I can't thank you all enough for your words of encouragement through this very trying time. [Ahnung would love it if you would like to follow her on facebook:].  So in a couple days we should hear from the pathologist and will know what the next steps are for Ahnung ... whatever we need to do I am okay with it because we have a fighting chance. Ahnung is a survivor and I am grateful beyond words that I (along with many others!) will continue to be blessed with her presence, her wisdom, and her loving, peaceful way.

This afternoon, it's my turn to get the lump in my breast checked out. I meet with my surgeon later this afternoon. I'm not so sure what's in store for me with regards to my own health, but in the scheme of things, as long as I have my nung-nung girl I feel like I can handle anything!!!

1 comment:

  1. I just now read this!! I'm out of town, so I have fallen behind a bit. This is fantastic news!! Love can certainly be a powerful thing...

    I know that you have a very special place in your heart for Ahnung. The two of you clearly share a very unique bond. I think that it is important to view that kind of relationship as a gift; sometimes we need a wake-up call to make us shake off the layers of mundane thinking. It's only human. If we were able to view life the way our canine counterparts do, I am sure there would be a lot less hurt and regret in this world. We are given an unknowable amount of time to make as much of a difference as we can, and it's quite clear to me that you are BOTH doing that.